Trump claims Putin would have been happier with Hillary

The US president says he and Vladimir Putin "get along very well"

Trump claims Putin would have been happier with Hillary

US President Donald Trump arrives at the White House, 08-07-2017. Image: AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta

Donald Trump has claimed that Russia's President would have been happier if Hillary Clinton had won the US election.

In a recorded interview with the Christian Broadcast Network, the US President went on to say that he and Vladimir Putin "get along very well and I think that's a good thing."

Mr Trump claimed Mrs Clinton would have weakened the US military and driven up energy prices - two things he says Mr Putin would have welcomed.

In the interview, which will be aired on Thursday, he says: "I keep hearing about that he would have rather had Trump, I think probably not because when I want a strong military, you know she wouldn't have spent the money on military, when I want a strong military, when I want tremendous energy, we're opening up coal, we're opening up natural gas, we're opening up fracking, all the things that he would hate, but nobody ever mentions that."

He spoke about the face-to-face meeting he held with the Russian President on the fringes of the G20 summit last week.

"We are a tremendously powerful nuclear power, and so are they. It doesn't make sense not to have some kind of a relationship," Mr Trump said.

During the interview, Mr Trump said Syria was one area where the US could achieve a "positive thing" through dialogue with Russia.

It comes hours after he tweeted support for his son, who is embroiled in a scandal over a meeting with a Russian lawyer.

The US President hit out at what he labelled the "greatest witch hunt in political history" and said Donald Trump Jr had been "open, transparent and innocent" during an interview with Fox News.

Donald Trump Jr spoke to Russian Natalia Veselnitskaya in June 2016 in the hope of unearthing compromising information on his father's then Democratic rival Hillary Clinton.

He told Fox that he did not tell his father about the meeting, claiming the discussion was "literally just a wasted 20 minutes."

The meeting was also attended by the President's son-in-law Jared Kushner and Paul Manafort, the Trump campaign chief at the time.

On Wednesday, the Senate Judiciary Committee summoned Mr Manafort to appear before the panel.

Mr Trump Jr is also facing called to appear before a congressional committee.

Christopher Wray, the former Justice Department official picked by Mr Trump to head the FBI, has denied the claim the investigation into Russian collusion was a "witch hunt."